Tinderbox waiting to explode
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Tinderbox waiting to explode

More than 70% industrial units have violated building norms leaving little room for rescue work in the event of accidents. Deevakar Anand reports.

gurgaon Updated: Apr 02, 2012 00:21 IST
Deevakar Anand
Deevakar Anand
Hindustan Times

With brazen violation of building laws, virtually no enforcement of fire safety norms and mounting civic and infrastructural woes, Udyog Vihar -— the manufacturing hub of the city — is literally sitting on a ticking time-bomb.

Besides the perennial problems of potholed roads, parking mess and non-functional, mostly non-existent streetlights, Udyog Vihar is also plagued by the slack attitude of the industrialists in conforming to safety laws.

Shrinking roads

At least 70% of the 1,862 small and big plotted industrial and commercial units along the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway are built in violation of the building byelaws. Also, the Haryana State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has created plots eating into arterial roads, reducing the 60-metre-wide roads into narrow bylanes. High workforce-density IT and telecom companies have been allowed to run business on plots with just 18-metre-wide roads, whereas the standard practice is 30 metres.

Though Udyog Vihar was originally meant to be a manufacturing centre, hundreds of IT and ITes companies have mushroomed over the years.

As per building laws, an allottee can construct only 6O% of the plot allotted and another 10% is allowed on payment of a penalty. But most units here have exceeded the 70% mark. The setback area and open areas in the front and sides have been put to use for generators and to construct washrooms for staff. This can restrict entry of rescue vehicles.

Similarly, there have been violations against the permissible limit of 125% FAR (floor area ratio) for general industries.

"This increases security threat apart from blocking proper light and ventilation for neighbourhood units too," said Dinesh Chauhan, senior town planner (STP) of HSIIDC, Gurgaon.

He said that HSIIDC has already increased FAR to 200% for IT and garment export factories to accommodate more workers. Both HSIIDC and industrialists claim they didn’t foresee the space crunch when the buildings were coming up in 1980s.

Ironically, in Udyog Vihar Phase V, the HSIIDC has itself constructed nearly 150 units spread over 250 square metre, in violation of the building laws.

Clash over Policy

The industrialists and HSIIDC are at loggerheads over the State Industrial Policy, 2011 which requires traders to sign an undertaking that they would seek an approval from HSIIDC before leasing out or selling their plots. Industrialists are fighting a case against the policy in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Although the HSIIDC had charged huge fee as extra development charges (EDC), facilities here are bare minimum. At least 50-60% of industrialists are claiming refund of the EDC they paid over a decade. According to Udyog Vihar Industries Association (UVIA) president Animesh Saxena, 400 industrialists were "coerced" to pay Rs 50-60 crore as EDC after permissions to their projects were withheld by HSIIDC.

First Published: Apr 02, 2012 00:19 IST